Reflections on Equine Affaire MA

In my opinion, this year Equine Affaire attracted an even bigger crowd than in recent past years - this in a time when the sentences in many news broadcasts start with phrases such as "Due to the recession", "As a result of the poor economy", etc. And people weren't just there - they were buying! How did they do it? What is it about Equine Affaire that attracted you to attend?
This month, rather than discussing an accounting or tax topic related to horse businesses, I want to get down to basics. Equine Affaire has found a way to attract vendors, presenters and consumers in droves. Rather than accept the premise that a poor economy is an insurmountable obstacle to a successful event, they just "made it work".
Do you view the current economy as an opportunity? Demand still exists in the horse industry but it might no longer be for the goods or services upon which your business is currently focused. Has your business kept pace with the changing economy? Is there something you can do to meet these new demands?
There will be a wide variety of options available to you, based on your individual situation. But you need to evaluate which ones are best for you. Do some research. Talk to your customers to find out what they need, not what you think they need. Do they have an unmet need that you can satisfy? Look at businesses that are successful now. What are they doing right?
Identify your target market? Who is your ideal customer and how can you market to reach them?
When you have a defined concept of what needs to be done in your business in order to change to adapt to current conditions, create a business plan. Be as detailed as possible with benchmarks that you hope to reach within a specific timeframe so you have a method to evaluate your progress. Keep detailed financial records so you have solid numbers, rather than using impressions and feelings as guideposts.
I know that when times are tough, it feels pretty overwhelming to consider making big changes that involve a lot more commitment and energy on your part. But the payoff will make it all worthwhile. You know owners of horse-related businesses who were "making it work" for them so it is possible. We can't all be Equine Affaires. But maybe you can be.